Labrador named Echo trains to be therapy and firearms detection dog at Plymouth-Canton schools

Echo, an adorable 3-year-old Labrador, is training to serve in a duel role at Plymouth-Canton Community School District. 

"He's my eyes and ears of protection, but his No. 1 job is to say hi to you guys and make you feel good," said Scott Hughesdon, Echo's partner. "People have told me that if you look at him, he looks like he's smiling all the time, so the kids are always like, ‘he’s smiling!'"

Hughesdon was a lieutenant with Canton Township police. Now, he works with the school district to keep students safe. Echo is learning how to be a therapy dog. He'll also be able to detect ammunition, firearms, and explosives. The pup will be able to transition from providing comfort to detecting dangers. 

"It's great to come to be able to come to work with a dog, but there's a huge responsibility that's associated with this dog," Hughesdon.

Adding Echo to the 18-person school district security team is about being proactive, especially after a six-hour lockdown in 2021 spurred by reports that someone had a gun on the high school campus.

"Our No. 1 focus is being proactive and being preventative," said Josh Meier, the director of School Safety and Security for the district. "We want to improve safety in our district we don't want to do it in a manner that fortifies schools, makes them feel like a prison."

The district may bring in more dogs to serve in the same roles as Echo.